'Dead Alive' Review: Beware the Sumatran Rat-Monkey
Looking at the picture above there'd be no hint that Peter Jackson directed Dead Alive (Braindead in the US). It's a gorefest of epic proportions but it is also an extremely funny film. This isn't Hostel or Cabin Fever which take themselves too seriously, this is comedy with horror not the other way around. There are also enough sight gags and slapstick to make the writers of Airplane jealous.
Timothy Balme plays Lionel, the momma's boy with huge eyes, who is tormented by the dead alive throughout the film specifically his mother. He is plagued by her zombie throughout the film, feeling obligated to always take care of her even in death. His eyes are extremely expressive and help to reinforce his sheltered, naive character. He does have some extremely memorable one-liners though towards the end of the film that make turn his character into a total badass.
The real draw of Dead Alive are the physical effects. They are top notch and hilarious. Limbs are ripped off, gallons of blood squirt all over the characters, pus shoots from wounds, and rebirths occur. The character makeup is disgusting in the best way possible with no chance missed for something disgusting to be played up. Lionel's mother deteriorates throughout the film, from human to almost unrecognizable bloated sticky zombie corpse. One of the more hilarious scenes in the film features an unconventional lunch that devolves into a zombie coitus. Whenever zombies fuck and result in a hideous zombie baby, you know the director really isn't taking anything serious. These zombies don't die, even their organs have a mind of their own which makes for some hilarious shit with piles of guts. It's truly glorious.
Dead Alive is in a class of its own. The closest comparison to it would be Sam Raimi's Evil Dead but even then the horror is played up more than the comedy. Dead Alive is a film that needs to be seen to be believed but even then you might not believe what you're seeing. Its irreverent, gory, and hilarious at the same time, and might be the goriest film ever made. Peter Jackson, please make more films like this and less Lord of the Ring related films now that The Hobbit is over, the horror world will thank you.
Final Say: Watch It
Who Said What?
Lionel Cosgrove: "Party's over"